Zimmerman: Witnesses #2 and #12

The Orlando Sentinel reports that four "key witnesses" provided statements in March that differed in part from their earlier statements. The Sentinel portrays the changes as "major" and says they are potentially damaging to Zimmerman's case.

The four witnesses the Sentinel lists are witnesses W-2, W-6, W-12 and W-13. Two of them aren't "key" to anything. The other two, W-6 and W-13 are key, but neither changed the most critical elements of their accounts. W-6 didn't budge from his assertion that during the struggle he witnessed (in which someone cried out for help) Trayvon was in black and on top of Zimmerman whose shirt or jacket was red. W-13 didn't change his account of what he saw or what Zimmerman said, he just provided his perception of Zimmerman's demeanor when later asked. [More...]

Witness 2:

W-2 said in her first interview on March 1 that she thought she saw two people running and a fistfight. But she couldn't provide any identifying details because she only got a quick glace and she had removed her contact lenses. She said she left the room and went back to the stove where she was cooking. The next thing she heard was the the gunshot.

She was interviewed again on March 1 about distances. She clearly had no idea of distances, accepting whatever Investigator Serino suggested to her. He asked her how far apart the two guys were she saw running:

Serino: Iím going to step away from you.
About here? [He motions]
A car length? 8 to 10 feet?
About 10 would you say?
10 feet. Ok thank you so much

W-2 was interviewed again by Serino on March 9. She repeats that she only got a glance and she didn't have her contact lenses in. As to the running, she says she heard it than saw it and turned around and left the room. She returned to the back room after she heard the shot. She again couldn't identify anyone.

During this interview, W-2 either had trouble explaining to Serino where her house was -- or Serino didn't understand where her house was.

Serino: Were they running towards your house or away from your house and towards the T or towards the street?
W-2: Towards the T
Serino: So away from our house
W-2: No
Serino: You live in that row on Retreat View, right? If they kept on running, would they have passed your house?
W-2:(Pauses, then agrees.)
She can't answer how far she was from the men she thought she saw. She reminds Serino again she didn't have her contact lenses in. She says they were downstairs, she was upstairs.

The FDLE investigators interview W-2 on March 20. Same story. She doesn't know what she saw, she didn't have her contacts in or glasses on.

It's not that she changed her story. It's that Serino was so anxious to confirm a chase he disregarded that she was never sure of what she saw, she didn't have her contact lenses in, and she was clueless as to distances. She would never have made it as a witness about anything.

Witness 12:

Witness 12 appears to be the wife of W-13, who is the witness who ran outside after hearing the shot, took an i-Phone photo of Zimmerman's injuries (the one later published by ABC News on the day of Zimmerman's bail hearing), was asked by Zimmerman to call his wife, and was told by Zimmerman he had to shoot the guy.)

W-12 told investigators she looked out and saw shadows of two people, with one on top, but their porch light wasn't on and it was dark. She couldn't tell their size and she didn't know who was on top. After the shot, she saw her husband outside talking to one of them. He had a flashlight.

In March, she told police that having seen the photos of Zimmerman in the media, she thinks the bigger guy was on top and that would be Zimmerman.

I know after seeing the TV of what's happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size," she said.
So W-2 is an irrelevant witness who never would have been called and W-12 is minor witness with nothing to add to her husband's account, other than what she concluded after seeing images of Zimmerman on TV. I don't think either one is a "key witness" who changed their story in way that could damage Zimmerman's defense.
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    Witness 13 first interview (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Clara Bow on Thu May 24, 2012 at 03:07:46 PM EST
    Zimmerman: "Man, I got blood on my face?"

    Witness: "Yeah, you got blood all over, man. I looked over and he's got blood on the back of his head. You alright man?"

    Zimmerman: "Ah, man this guy he was beating up on me so I had to shoot him."

    Witness: "Did you use a 9 or a 40?"

    Zimmerman: "I used a 9."

    Witness: "Did you call 911, yet?"

    Zimmerman: "No, I already called. Can you just call my wife?"

    How odd is it that the witness asked "did you use a 9 or a 40"?

    And, how well did Zimmerman know this witness?

    When Zimmerman asked the witness to call his wife - did he then give the witness his phone number or did the witness already know it?

    How odd is it that the witness asked (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu May 24, 2012 at 03:12:37 PM EST
    How odd is it that the witness asked "did you use a 9 or a 40"?
    Some people live in a different world from you and me...

    perhaps W-13 (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 27, 2012 at 03:57:40 AM EST
    also hasa concealed weapons permit. Have you looked?

    Those are my thoughts exactly! (none / 0) (#50)
    by CommonSenseForChange on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:16:39 PM EST
    How would the witness know the wife's telephone number?  Why call the wife unless there's a plan to move the car premeditated -- like a disaster plan?  Is this normal?  Most people know they'll get to make a call if arrested, right?  WHAT WAS IN ZIMMERMAN'S VEHICLE TO FORCE HIM TO BE SO CONCERNED ABOUT MAKING SURE HIS WIFE MOVED IT FROM THE CRIME SCENE?

    Why wouldn't he call his wife? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Redbrow on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:54:16 PM EST
    Isn't it normal for someone who just experienced a stressful and traumatic attack to seek comfort in a loved one?

    Don't people who narrowly escape death tend to think of loved ones?

    Or maybe you are right and his wife was in on some grand conspiracy.


    Come on, most people (none / 0) (#76)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 27, 2012 at 03:55:06 AM EST
    that are in custody want their spouses called to let them know they won't be home as planned so the spouse doesn't worry, can call a lawyer if need be, and makes sure the car is secure.

    Finally heard the interviews (none / 0) (#73)
    by Redbrow on Sat May 26, 2012 at 02:31:06 AM EST
    I just listened to the interviews with witness 13 and he denies knowing or ever seeing before both Zimmerman and Martin.

    His statements included "Sounded like a dog barking. Could not hear anything recognizable at first. Towards the end I heard help"

    This might indicate George's early screams for help were muffled.

    Also noteworthy, "matter of fact-like it wasn't a big deal" were the investigators words, not the witnesses.

    Bernie de la Rionda has a nasty habit of leading witnesses and putting words in their mouths that he wants to hear.


    W6 mentioned dogfight as well (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cylinder on Sat May 26, 2012 at 05:38:27 AM EST
    In W6's revised statement, he mentioned the impression of a dogfight as well. Odd.

    If they make it to the stand (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:43:44 PM EST
    Doesn't O'Mara just go after the fact that their stories changed about the same time that the marches and rallies were taking place and the media was reporting this to be a brutual racially-motivated killing of a young boy by a bigger, heavier man?

    I'm not saying they are lying, but besides time, doesn't the fact that this is such a hot button case make witnesses want to give the "right" answer?

    No. The State already has info on that (none / 0) (#51)
    by CommonSenseForChange on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:19:38 PM EST
    Witnesses have proven to be un-moved by the me dia which is why they allow transparency.

    You're joking, eight? (none / 0) (#78)
    by Gandydancer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:05:13 AM EST
    Serino's Theory (none / 0) (#2)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:50:58 PM EST
    Continuing discussion with Willisnewton.

    Having said all that, how do folks here square the growing possibility that the confrontation led (or occurred mainly?)  40-60 feet south of the T with the probable narrative that the initial blow was a sucker punch that led to both being on the ground/ sidewalk?

    I don't think that is the probable narrative. It's what we have, via The Orlando Sentinel and George Zimmerman's father. I think it's a simplified, incomplete version of what  George Zimmerman told the police.

    Chris Serino told the The Orlando Sentinel: 'Everything I have is adding up to what he says.' The released documents don't contradict that.

    Serino's theory of the case is summarized in his March 13 Capias Request (pp. 26-27).

    According to records checks, all of Zimmerman's suspicious persons calls while residing in the Retreat neighborhood have identified Black males as the subjects.

       * * *

    The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern.

    The first point is inaccurate. Zimmerman reported as suspicious  a white male in September 2005,  and a group of three men, two hispanic and one white, in June of 2007. Call logs.

    Serino didn't explain what either point has to do with a manslaughter charge, in the capias request or anywhere else in the documents so far released.

    For my argument, what matters is that Serino made both points without suggesting that Zimmerman had been anything but truthful. Serino's theory is not that Zimmerman must be guilty because he is lying and hiding something. Serino's theory is that Zimmerman is guilty even if everything he says is true.

    There is nothing in the documents to show that Serino ever changed that theory. Look at the capias request and Serino's reports. See where Zimmerman's statements are redacted, and see if they are preceded or followed by any hint that Serino disbelieved anything Zimmerman said.

    The calls you are talking about are not calls from the gated community where the murder took place.

    Right, Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Wed May 23, 2012 at 11:52:24 PM EST
    You're right. Zimmerman and his wife moved into The Retreat in 2009.

    I had gotten the impression that Zimmerman was living there when he started his police calling career. I should have checked.

    Thanks for the correction.


    The real question is -- phone logs (none / 0) (#52)
    by CommonSenseForChange on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:30:58 PM EST
    How do you square that a would be teen criminal is not likely to be chilling on the phone with his girlfriend during a hide-in-wait situation?  No way around the phone logs.

    Around The Logs (none / 0) (#60)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:41:22 AM EST

    The logs show the phone was connected. We don't know Martin was talking. That's just Dee Dee's word.


    Why "hide and wait"? (none / 0) (#79)
    by Gandydancer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:12:30 AM EST
    As opposed to both reaching the T at the same time?

    OTOH, apart from Dee Dee's statement, do we know if time could have passed bedtween when TM hung up andwhen the fight began. How long between hangup and beginng of first 911?


    Same Time, Same Place (none / 0) (#83)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun May 27, 2012 at 10:13:09 AM EST
    I don't understand the question.

    The two parts of your dichotomy aren't about the same thing. One is about Martin's intention. The other is just a physical description.

    In the hide-and-wait scenario, if Martin made his move before Zimmerman reached the T, then they might both reach the T at the same time.

    How long between hangup and beginng of first 911?

    At least 12 seconds. Possibly a minute and 11 seconds.


    I take this as more of an indictment (none / 0) (#3)
    by tigercourse on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:12:03 PM EST
    of eyewitness testimony in general.

    "Yeah, I saw Marting beating up Zimmerman. No, wait, Zimmerman bear up Martin. Maybe I saw Martin and Zimmerman beating up another guy. Yeah, that one".

    "Most critical element", huh? (none / 0) (#5)
    by ks on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:04:42 PM EST
    So, the formerly "rock solid John" goes from this:

    "Witness 6

    This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," a reference to mixed martial arts.

    He also said the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," a reference to Zimmerman."

    To this:

    "But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.

    "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

    He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.

    He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.

    "The black guy was on top," he said."

    So he goes from backing Zimmerman's claims about being pounded and being the one yelling for help to saying otherwise but holds onto to who he thinks was on top but that's not a big deal because only the latter is the "most critical element"?  Uh huh.  I disagree.

    Zimmerman's (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Doug1111 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:52:14 PM EST
    medical report indicates he had a broken nose, two blackened eyes, and lacerations to the back of his head, all consistent with Zimmerman's story that he was being repeatedly punched and had his head repeatedly bashed against the concrete.  

    Also people don't scream for help 11 times when they're the one on top pinning their adversary to the ground even when they have a gun pointed at them.  As well John did not report seeing Zimmerman pointing a gun at Trayvon when the screaming was going on.

    Finally though he later highly suspiciously changed his story, when Trayvon's father heard the 911 recording of the repeated screams he said that wasn't the voice of his son.  That's an admission against interest and all the more believable for that reason.

    The evidence supporting Zimmerman's story from after when the fight broke out is strong.

    Deedee's account in her being interviewed/deposed by the prosecutor is not very believable and full of inconsistencies from the time when she says Trayvon was "right by" his dad's Sanford house onward.  Zimmerman was out of site and she hadn't said he came back into sight until two minutes later.  Why didn't he just go into his dad's place and lock the door - and call 911 if he was afraid, which I don't think he any longer was if he ever was.


    I find DeeDee's account very credible (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by CommonSenseForChange on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:32:33 PM EST
    She could have done serious damage if she had chosen to lie.  She didn't.

    I think she is lying from just after (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Doug1111 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 09:55:40 AM EST
    the point where she says Trayvon was right by his dad's Sanford house.  

    She had previously said that Trayvon had shaken Zimmerman who wasn't in sight.  She then refers to two minutes passing but says nothing about what happens in those two minutes.  She talks about her "knowing" Trayvon was scarred then, and when questioned says it's because his voice was low. I think it was low because as she knew Trayvon was hiding in wait for Zimmerman to ambush him, and was talking low so as not to be heard.

    It's only after that two minute gap that she says Zimmerman comes into sight and then that he's very close.  All very suspicious.  If
    Trayvon was hiding near his Dad's gf's place which was at the far end of the complex from the
    T near which GZ's truck was parked, he would have had GZ in sight for a good while.  


    I think it's easy to ... (5.00 / 0) (#69)
    by Yman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:04:42 PM EST
    ... accuse someone of lying based on nothing more than speculation and an active imagination.

    I think it is also easy... (none / 0) (#71)
    by Redbrow on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:17:01 PM EST
    ...to believe someone based on nothing more than speculation and confirmation bias.

    Good thing ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Yman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:05:50 PM EST
    ... I'm not doing that.

    The black eyes might be the result of the broken (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:54:41 PM EST

    Zimmerman's forhead was scuffed up. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by redwolf on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:01:56 PM EST
    Only way that happened was from punches or having the front of his head banged/dragged on the ground.  Face it, Martin was beating the crap out of Zimmerman.  The only question is why.

    Or, if they slipped on wet grass. (none / 0) (#84)
    by willisnewton on Sun May 27, 2012 at 12:17:49 PM EST
    It's probable they moved from the keys location to the body location via the sidewalk.  The body, shell casing, black flashlight and cell phone are all in the grass.  The tan bag in on the sidewalk, between the keys and the other stuff.  Common sense tells us that something caused them both to leave the sidewalk for the grass, unless for some odd reason they were never on the sidewalk.    

    If they were chasing one another, like a short quarterback scramble and one or both stepped on the wet grass they could have tumbled onto the sidewalk and grass with GZ sustaining injuries to his head - either some or all.  

    None of this would be PROVEN by any eyewitness.  But it's one explanation, isn't it?  


    It's still pretty critical (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:18:15 PM EST
    That W6 is consistent that Martin was on top of Zimmerman.   That helps with the element of SYG / self defense of Zimmerman not being able to retreat.

    Wouldn't it change if he was only restrained? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:57:23 PM EST
    IOW, if it was dark enough that the screams for help were such that the witnesses merely assumed GZ was being punched when in (speculative) reality, it's possible GZ was only being held down/ restrained?

    Better way of putting it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:58:50 PM EST
    What would GZ be in need of retreating from -- would his life be in danger if he were only being restrained?

    How do explain his injuries? (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:06:14 PM EST
    If he was only restrained?

    If Zimmerman was being restrained, there's (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Anne on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:31:54 PM EST
    no reason the injuries could not have occurred before then, is there?  The two of them could have been tussling and going at it before Trayvon, with his height advantage, managed to get Zimmerman to the ground and hold him there - and maybe that was prompted by the sight of the gun, or Zimmerman getting the gun out.

    And if you think about it, if the gun was already out, it makes some sense that Trayvon could have been the one yelling for help, not knowing how long he could hold Zimmerman, whom he had reason to believe was going to shoot him.  

    This is one of those cases where you need only change one thing to make another scenario possible.  And the unfortunate thing is that all there is to go on are Zimmerman's version and the pieces and parts seen or heard by witnesses, none of whom saw the thing from beginning to end.


    I don't disagree (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:45:25 PM EST
    And yes, Zimmerman is the only one here to tell the story.  But on the flip side, Zimmerman is the only one who could possibly go to jail.

    Isn't that something all gun-owners are/ should (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:53:23 PM EST
    be aware of?

    It's a truly big responsibility, nothing to take lightly, imo.


    Preponderance (none / 0) (#32)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu May 24, 2012 at 01:22:47 AM EST
    The two of them could have been tussling and going at it before Trayvon, with his height advantage, managed to get Zimmerman to the ground and hold him there . . .

    Martin was uninjured, except for the gunshot and one knuckle. That's more consistent with a one-sided beating than with there being an earlier, more equal phase of the struggle.

    Listening to the screaming on the 911 tape, I hear wordless noises between the 'help's, which I would call 'shrieks'. That sounds like pain. It's more likely the screaming person was the one injured, and that the injuries happened during the period of the screaming.

    maybe that was prompted by the sight of the gun, or Zimmerman getting the gun out.

    And if you think about it, if the gun was already out, it makes some sense that Trayvon could have been the one yelling for help . . .

    There's no evidence Martin saw the gun before Zimmerman was down.

    This is one of those cases where you need only change one thing to make another scenario possible.

    Speculation about possibilities is great for a defense attorney looking for reasonable doubt. For prosecutors trying to beat preponderance of evidence in an immunity hearing, not so much.

    Well, with Martin dead, I don't know that (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by Anne on Thu May 24, 2012 at 09:15:07 AM EST
    there's going to ever be any evidence that he saw the gun before Zimmerman went down - we can't exactly ask him, can we?

    I have to think that both sides are re-enacting events in accordance with whatever Zimmerman told the police and what the witnesses reported, and trying to figure out when the gun came out.

    But...if Martin was straddling Zimmerman, isn't the most likely straddle-point at Zimmerman's waist?  And isn't the waistband where the gun was holstered?  If both of those are true/likely, how do you see Zimmerman being able to get the gun out and then firing it at Martin?  Wasn't Zimmerman taking a huge risk at that point that he would lose control of the gun and end up having it used against him?

    There is so much about this case that makes no sense to me.


    It probably makes sense (none / 0) (#43)
    by jbindc on Thu May 24, 2012 at 09:26:58 AM EST
    If you were living in that moment and acting on reflex and adrenaline only.  I can easily see how Zimmerman could wrestle a gun out of his holster and firing with Martin sitting on top of him.  Think about a time you were panicked and were able to do things that otherwise, if you were calm and rational, you wouldn't be able to do.

    Getting gun from holster. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Green26 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:55:25 PM EST
    Assuming Zim on bottom: if his arms/hands are both being pinned/pushed down, or if he was trying to defend himself from repeated punches with both hands/forearms, it would be hard to get gun. If one hand/arm is free, he could use it to get gun. If both hand/arms are free, he could have some defense with one forearm and still get gun. Especially if holster is on his hip.

    I would like to know the angle of the bullet going into the chest. Is it straight or is it rising? Also, is it coming a bit across the chest, or from straight ahead?


    The most likely straddle point (none / 0) (#61)
    by Doug1111 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 09:41:48 AM EST
    to allow Trayvon the best position to keep hitting Zimmerman in the fact was his hips.  


    And isn't the waistband where the gun was holstered?  If both of those are true/likely, how do you see Zimmerman being able to get the gun out and then firing it at Martin?  

    So now you're questioning whether Zimmerman was able to get his gun out and shot Trayvon?


    Wasn't Zimmerman taking a huge risk at that point that he would lose control of the gun and end up having it used against him?

    That lends credence to Zimmerman's story through his father's retelling that he only drew his gun after it became visible in his struggles to get his head away from the sidewalk, and either Trayvon saw it and was going for it or Zimmerman feared that he soon would.  


    I don't know where (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Anne on Fri May 25, 2012 at 01:42:26 PM EST
    your hips are in relation to your waist, but in most people, it would be pretty hard to straddle one without being more or less also straddling the other.

    As for the rest of your comment, perhaps you are willing to accept that George told his father what his father has disseminated to the media, or that he is retelling it accurately, but I would prefer to get the story from the actual source, and that's something we don't have.

    But the reality is that if Zimmerman hadn't had a gun to become visible, or struggle over - if that's what happened - it seems like the cops would have arrived to the aftermath of a fistfight/wrestling match, not a fatal shooting.

    And to answer your inevitable question, no, I don't think they would have arrived to the aftermath of a fatal beating.


    This (none / 0) (#64)
    by jbindc on Fri May 25, 2012 at 01:51:50 PM EST
    But the reality is that if Zimmerman hadn't had a gun to become visible, or struggle over - if that's what happened - it seems like the cops would have arrived to the aftermath of a fistfight/wrestling match, not a fatal shooting.

    Assumes a great deal.  Zimmerman had a gun on him - did he intend to stalk and intentionally kill Martin?  That's for a jury to say, but all signs are pointing to "No".  So then the question is, if his story is true and Martin ambushed him and a fight ensued, and Martin ended up on top of him, then how do you propose he would have kept his gun hidden?  


    I think she's saying (none / 0) (#65)
    by amateur on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:24:21 PM EST
    that GZ introduced the lethal element to the situation.  I'm not sure if there is legal significance to that because IANAL. He had a permit to carry the weapon so what he did was legal.  You could argue it was reckless.

    What was reckless... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Gandydancer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:22:43 AM EST
    ...was Martin punching someone he didn't know was unarmed. The pont of carring a gun is precisely to make such behavior reckless.

    The point of carrying a gun ... (none / 0) (#88)
    by Yman on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:30:37 PM EST
    ... is to make fistfights reckless?!?

    Who knew?


    about straddle... (none / 0) (#95)
    by Mhaven on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:24:08 PM EST
    I was wondering the same thing..

    If Tray was straddling GZ, then how would GZ reach his gun?   And, how would GZ fire a shot that goes straight through Tray's heart?  Wouldn't that go in at an angle from that position?

    One witness said the man on top was up, and left the other on the ground lying face down!

    Possibly shot fired by pulling up on Trays hoodie to raise his upper body.  GZ curl arm around Tray's body,  and fire bullet into chest.

    May explain why almost no gun residue on GZ clothing.


    GZ's statements should clear that up (none / 0) (#10)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:26:55 PM EST
    but once those initial injuries are "over with" (for lack of a better way of putting it), will mere restraint -- IF "John's revision is really what happened -- truly fit self-defense?

    I did a little research re MMA the other night (spending some time at one instructor's web site) and I'm not so sure the defense would be pleased with the description anyway but IANAL.


    It's nice (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:28:17 PM EST
    that you are expanding your horizons!  :)

    Hey, I figure if a star witness is going to use a (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mary2012 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:43:34 PM EST
    particular form of self-defense/ sport to describe what he saw it would be best to try and understand what he is saying/ meaning!  

    MMA Description (none / 0) (#30)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:06:01 AM EST

    I'm not so sure the defense would be pleased with the description

    How so?

    The instructor differentiated (none / 0) (#36)
    by Mary2012 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 05:27:32 AM EST
    How so?

    "Play fights" from "Real fights".

    "Play fights" can land one in the hospital, i.e., injuries can/ do occur.  Same with a "real fight".

    The difference is in a "real fight" you know no one is coming to break it up, end the fight.  No one else is around, the police aren't on their way.


    Real Fights (none / 0) (#37)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:46:37 AM EST

    The difference is in a "real fight" you know no one is coming to break it up, end the fight.

    I've done martial arts and I've been in real fights, so I know what you mean. In my experience this wouldn't make a difference for what a third party sees.


    I didn't see your post before putting my second (none / 0) (#39)
    by Mary2012 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:56:57 AM EST
    post up.  It'd just occurred to me it would be more clear if I'd added the part re restraint.

    It might be what "John" was seeing or thought he saw...


    IOW (none / 0) (#38)
    by Mary2012 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:51:18 AM EST
    TM might've initially believed he was in a "real fight" but once he realized others were aware he could've gone into a restraint mode (which I believe is also covered in MMA, restraining a person) to hold this strange man until the police arrived.

    I'm not clear at this point where "John's" observations would begin but for the sake of illustration, let's say it's at this point he shouts he's calling the police.  At this point both TM & GZ both know the police are on their way.  Before, it was just GZ that knew it; now they both know it and "John" thinks TM might be restraining GZ.  



    and, to complete the speculated scenario, (none / 0) (#40)
    by Mary2012 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:19:08 AM EST
    and perhaps needless to say, it's at some point after that, that GZ fires his gun.

    IF this is the case, is it truly self defense?


    Good for you taking martial arts.  Seems a worthwhile pursuit!


    SYG - Fighting to Save Your Own Life (none / 0) (#54)
    by CommonSenseForChange on Thu May 24, 2012 at 06:49:15 PM EST
    There is really very little dispute based on the evidence that Trayvon Martin was trying to save his own life.  DeeDee is a witness to the final moments that set the "wrestling" incident in motion and what she describes is assault and possibly battery.  A "thump" and then the phone was knocked to the ground in response to asking Zimmerman "Why are you following me for"?

    this is your opinion (none / 0) (#66)
    by Jeralyn on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:25:46 PM EST
    please state it as such. It certainly is in dispute from the evidence.

    THAT phone wasn't knocked... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Gandydancer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:33:26 AM EST
    ...to the ground. It was probably in M's pocket at that point, and for some time thereafter. Unless DeeDee told Crump about "Get off, get off" her credibility is going to be underwater, btw. And there's a LOT of dispute about when TM realized his life was at stake. He may have found out seconds before he lost it.

    Partial (none / 0) (#23)
    by ks on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:14:16 PM EST
    But he saw only the part of the struugle so based on his account we don't know if Zimmerman could have retreated before then.  In any event, his overall story has changed pretty significantly.

    The biggest question, (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by amateur on Thu May 24, 2012 at 08:39:38 AM EST
    and one that probably can't be answered until we see/hear Zimmerman's testimony, is how he was able to draw his gun.  If TM was sitting on him "MMA style" it seems like it would be difficult to reach the gun.  This is where the re-enactment might come in handy.

    I still think it was Martin who enjoyed the (none / 0) (#18)
    by BJohnM on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:59:56 PM EST
    stand your ground exemption here. Young black kid is walking through a fairly decent neighborhood,minding his own business, talking on he phone to his girlfriend (obviously not engaged in illegal activity...because as backward as Florida often is, our legislature is still unable to make it illegal for black people to walk through white neighborhoods...and suddenly notices he's being followed by a white guy in a truck. I'd expect he gets a little nervous. The guy gets out of the truck, maybe even brandishing or exposing a weapon, and approaches and challenges the kid.

    Martin has a right to be in fear, so if Zimmerman approaches close enough, maybe Martin did lay into him. I think under stand your ground he had a right. The gun obviously got exposed at some point. I don't care how good his football was, I expect he didn't think he could out run a bullet. So Trayvon was standing his ground against a heavier, suspiciously acting guy who'd been following him for a while, and had a gun.

    I do not believe the intent of the law was to make the exemption available to both parties, so I believe the weight of the evidence clearly makes Martin the "threatened" party in all this. So it does not matter if he threw down on Zimmerman, and it doesn't matter if he was/did kick the crap out of him. Zimmerman is entitled to make a case for self-defense, but I don't think he gets the protections of stand your ground. That was already used up by Martin.

    Also, I hear all these stories about all these break ins in this neighborhood, yet these witnesses all seemed pretty nonchalant about a couple of people running behind their houses (I left the room), nobody had their lights on, and nobody came running when someone was yelling for help. Now I don't think there's some big conspiracy or anything, but if this was such a major concern for this neighborhood (as has been stated), wouldn't everyone want to be on the lookout for suspicious activity?

    He would have every right to stand his ground... (none / 0) (#20)
    by redwolf on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:03:45 PM EST
    if Zimmerman brandish his weapon.  There's no evidence that he did.  Even DeeDee doesn't mention a gun.

    Several problems with your theory (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:04:20 PM EST
    1. Martin is dead and the only one who can claim SYG is Zimmerman.  

    2. It is not a "white neighborhood", but in fact a racially diverse one.

    3. Even if for some wild reason, Martin DID enjoy SYG protection, it still wouldn't apply, because everything that we "know" to date shows that Martin had a means and opportunity to retreat - thus nullifying any "SYG" assertion.

    4. Just because an assertion or defense is used by one party, does not mean it is "used up" for the other party.

    Just to start...

    By definition (none / 0) (#24)
    by amateur on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:02:04 PM EST
    SYG eliminates the requirement to retreat.

    Yes - only if (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:05:55 PM EST
    Assuming the wild theory that Martin could claim SYG, then Martin could only claim SYG if Zimmerman attacked him first.  

    this is not about (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:56:47 PM EST
    what Trayvon might have claimed. Stand Your Ground is a law providing immunity from prosecution. If Trayvon had lived and been charged with assault, he might have claimed  self-defense (but not SYG since he wasn't attacked.)  Since he is not charged with a crime, it's irrelevant as well as off-topic.

    Also, there is not a whit of evidence that Trayvon was physically attacked by GZ. Speculation about what Trayvon may have feared is not at issue.

    Please don't re-direct this thread from the topic under discussion (statements of witnesses) to something that is not part of the case.

    776.013 Stand Your Ground

    3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary
    to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    There is no evidence GZ used force against Trayvon, SYG would be inapplicable. Again, the SYG law, especially in regards to Trayvon Martin, is not the topic here.


    loophole? (none / 0) (#28)
    by lawstudent on Wed May 23, 2012 at 11:18:09 PM EST
    Even if it is conclusively established that Trayvon was beating up Zimmerman at the time he was shot (and the evidence certainly seems to be pointing that way), we'll probably never know for certain who escalated the confrontation into a physical one.  But to me, I have a hard time accepting the fact that IF it could be established that Zimmerman started the fight, he can still shoot and kill Trayvon without consequence so long as he reasonably feared for his life or serious bodily harm and could not retreat.  

    If this is a correct understanding of the law (and I believe it is), that means someone can start a fight with an unarmed man, but if it turns out the other guy gets the best of him and pins him down, he can then shoot to kill.  Is that really why self-defense laws exist?  

    It's more like a loop-obstacle course (none / 0) (#33)
    by Cylinder on Thu May 24, 2012 at 01:44:41 AM EST
    It's more like a loop obstacle course.

    For one to claim justified use of deadly force, one would have to prove that they had reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm and that the use of force was neccessary, and that there were no means of retreat and they were not commiting a forcible felony and they either withdrew from the confrontation or made a clear attempt to withdraw but could not.

    You cannot simply start an altercation, start losing and revert to deadly force.


    second request (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 24, 2012 at 02:12:25 AM EST
    to stay on topic.  We have several threads on stand your ground. I don't mean to be rude, but I want the comments to follow the topic. Your hypothetical doesn't even fit this situation, and you are asking a philosophical question. I don't mind you asking this on an open thread or a thread about the law of the case, but I'd like to keep the comments on the topic of the evidence and witnesses. Thank you.

    He has to be doing more than (none / 0) (#45)
    by Doug1111 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 01:16:30 PM EST
    getting the best of him and pinning him down for a shooting to be excusable as self defense.

    He one winning the fight has to cause the loser to have a  reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death.  

    If Zimmerman's story that Trayvon war repeatedly bashing his head against concrete wasn't credible given where the fight too place and the lacerations to the back of GZ's head, I think there's real doubt that a jury would consider such a belief reasonable.  I.e. if the jury though Trayvon was repeatedly punching him only.

    As well as a practical matter I think if the jury is convinced that GZ started the fight, or think it's much more likely than not they are even more likely to find that belief unreasonable.

    So too if a jury thinks Zimmerman wanted to kill Trayvon, as opposed to stop him.  One bullet cuts against that.  


    Thank you, Doug (none / 0) (#46)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 24, 2012 at 02:15:36 PM EST
    It's a pleasure seeing you write in a calm, rational, and cogent manner. One reading your post couldn't tell which way you're leaning...."fair and balanced."

    Keep it up.


    But it is off topic (none / 0) (#47)
    by RickyJ on Thu May 24, 2012 at 02:42:16 PM EST
    Didn't you see what Jeralyn wrote below?  It would be nice to have an open thread just devoted to SD/SYG philosophy.  

    I've written using the same sorts of logic (none / 0) (#67)
    by Doug1111 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:50:32 PM EST
    applied to what the weight of the evidence is and what florida self defense law says in all that I've written here.

    In this post I was posing a hypothetical to  illustrate how Florida's SYG law works I think, that wasn't what I believe the weight of the evidence supports.  I think it strongly supports at least several head bashings against concrete as Zimmerman says.  

    I think the prosecution will try to claim that Zimmerman's contradictions in his story suggest that the head bashings had ended when he shot Trayvon.  That's just an educated guess based on their charge, and snippets that the lead investigator got in on stand at the bail bond hearing before O'Mara's objections are arguing facts not in evidence was sustained.  

    Even if that's so, i think O'Mara wins when he points out Zimmerman could reasonably fear the head bashing would resume as soon as Trayvon succeeded in getting his head over concrete again.

    I also think the mostly circumstantial evidence, while far from giving us any certainty, make it more likely than not that it wasn't Zimmerman who started the physical fight between them, as GZ says it wasn't.  That's all GZ needs to win immunity at his immunity hearing.  


    I've always approached this (none / 0) (#70)
    by Doug1111 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:26:53 PM EST
    in fair and balanced, calm, cogent and unemotional way.  Being fair and balanced doesn't mean never coming to a conclusion, or at least tentative one based on what evidence is available and how credible different parts of it are.

    It's not the possibility of... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Gandydancer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 08:45:21 AM EST
    ...further head-bashing that gives Z reasonable fear of grave bodily injury. It's the fact of previous head bashing plus the presence of Z's gun. The head bashing made it reasonable to believe that losing his gun could be fatal.

    Reasonable fear of bodily harm. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Green26 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 12:09:30 AM EST
    I would think that getting punched in the face while being unable to get the puncher off you, would soon lead to reasonable fear of significant bodily harm--particularly if the puncher has already taken you down and shown that he's stronger than you.

    One of my questions is why TS didn't have more damage to his hands and knuckles. Apparently only a bruise to one knuckle.
    Punching someone hard and repeatedly would normally lead to more damage to the knuckles. My thought is that the damage to Zim's nose/face and back of head, could have occurred with relatively few hard punches landed.

    It's been mentioned that black eyes could come from broken nose, which is true. I would think it would have to been a badly broken nose for that, tho. Someone said that lack of bruising on TS could have resulted from quick death and resultant lack of blood circulation. That would be an important fact for me.


    We don't know when the blow to the nose came (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by willisnewton on Mon May 28, 2012 at 12:33:23 AM EST
    Nor do we know where the busted nose happened.  

    It could have been the first move that turned the argument into a physical struggle, and been dealt while both were standing.  It could be that GZ shoved, pushed or grabbed TM, yanking his earphone out as DeeDee seems to be describing and then TM punched GZ in the face in an effort to get away from an unidentified assailant.  We don't know.  

    It could be that GZ chased TM from the T to John's back yard and then slipped on the wet grass and hit his head on the sidewalk, busting his own nose because he had a pistol in his hand already, or his hand on his waistband holster and didn't catch himself well.  

    Maybe GZ slipped on the tan bag that fell on the wet sidewalk.  

    And so on.  We don't know.  We do know GZ's keychain flashlight was up by the T, and that his other flashlight was some distance away in John's back yard.  

    Which place do you think TM was when GZ got a busted nose?  

    Good for you, good for me.  We can all have our own opinion. It's just a guess.  No one saw how the fight started.  

    What we will eventually know is how GZ claims the fight started, whether he is consistent in his relating this tale,  and what the evidence on the ground is.  So don't put the cart before the horse, here.  


    Breaking a bone is (none / 0) (#68)
    by Doug1111 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:55:04 PM EST
    I believe generally considered aggravated assault and battery though I don't know if breaking a nose is.  That's not that hard to do with a blow directly to the nose.  

    damage to his hands and knuckles (none / 0) (#87)
    by pngai on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:35:50 PM EST
    What if the can of Arizona drink was used as a weapon? The photograph I saw shows some dents in the can.

    The can of iced tea ... (none / 0) (#89)
    by Yman on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:39:48 PM EST
    photo button (none / 0) (#90)
    by pngai on Sun May 27, 2012 at 09:52:02 PM EST
    I'm not saying this means anything, but the photo button is also logged by the police (DMS-10) as being in the victim's pockets yet he is clearly seen wearing it at the 7-11.

    I'd be interested in what you think this means.


    Sgt. Raimondo Found The Can (none / 0) (#91)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Mon May 28, 2012 at 12:15:05 AM EST
    The beverage can wasn't just logged as being found in the pocket. Sgt. Raimondo described finding it in his report (p. 16).

    Several items were removed ... (none / 0) (#93)
    by Yman on Mon May 28, 2012 at 10:59:46 AM EST
    ... or fell out of his pockets during the attempts to revive him.

    Several? (none / 0) (#96)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu May 31, 2012 at 12:27:23 AM EST
    I believe the beverage can is the only item for which this is stated explicitly in the reports.

    Does Natalie Jackson read the articles (none / 0) (#31)
    by rjarnold on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:54:35 AM EST
    she links to on twitter? In the past 4 days she has linked to 6 different articles. These include:

    Of Children and Inkblots: Trayvon Martin and the Psychopathology of Whiteness. This article contains many falsehoods and assumptions about the case and assumes a bad motive on white people who think Zimmerman is innocent. "The only explanation for such confidence is that whites presume black people to be scary, dangerous, suspicious, and worthy of a lower threshold of evidence before one takes action against them. There is no other explanation."

    This is Bigger than Kim and Kanye. An incoherent piece that assumes Zimmerman started the fight, and asserts that this is in fact more important to Kim and Kanye.

    An article misleadingly titled State Says Trayvon Martin was profiled. The article only describes an argument by a former state prosecutor.

    Another article filled with assumptions and innacuracies.

    can you please (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 24, 2012 at 02:03:09 AM EST
    stay on topic? I don't want the discussion to veer into Team Crump and their thoughts on race.

    Whose Light Was On? (none / 0) (#44)
    by RickyJ on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:11:02 PM EST
    I remember that on one video, dog walker Austin told us it was dark, moonless and only one person had a porch light on.  Whose was it?  I would think that person, if close to the scene, would be the most reliable witness.  Was the question asked in any of the police interviews?

    In the interview with John (none / 0) (#58)
    by rjarnold on Fri May 25, 2012 at 12:25:48 AM EST
    he said that his porchlight is always on, but it only shines on the patio part. He says that at about 38:30 at this link.

    backlight may have been more useful (none / 0) (#86)
    by willisnewton on Sun May 27, 2012 at 03:45:05 PM EST
    Persons opposite a patio light like John's might have seen better in silhouette what two figures were doing in the dark, just as GZ may have "backlighted" TM as he walked along, likely west on the cut thru path.  GZ has his keychain flashlight on, according to page 80 and so his movements could have been recognized by TM as the same person going first east and then returning west.  We just don't know for sure.  But all this could be factored into one's opinion.  

    The patio lights shine in an alcove of sorts and don't illuminate much besides the patio themselves, I'd guess.   But a figure or figures backlit would be recognizable in some manner more than a dark clothed person standing against an unlit background.  


    W6 gave important new statement (none / 0) (#59)
    by Cylinder on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:54:34 AM EST
    While doing his follow-up interview, W6 corroborated a key claim by Zimmerman. Remember that in the bond hearing, Det. Gilbreath assserted that Zimmerman claimed that just prior to the fatal shooting, the struggle had moved from the grassy area to the sidewalk. Gilbreath aqsserted this was not supported by witnesses or physical evidence. If you listen to the audio of W6's statement (26:20) he states:

    FDLE: Now you just mentioned moving to the sidewalk.

    W6: When they were wrestling, when I said "Cut it out" and before I turned to go inside they moved up onto the sidewalk and they're no longer laying this way, they were laying this way at that point, so they wrestled to that point.

    FDLE: And you're showing parallel with the dog walk.

    W6: Yea, this is the sidewalk, they were this way when I first saw them they were wrestling and moved that way.

    Curiosities (none / 0) (#75)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun May 27, 2012 at 02:19:28 AM EST
    Jeralyn, from an earlier post.

    Curiously, the police reports list the sweatshirt as ME-12 and the hoodie as ME-8.

    Martin's clothing and watch are ME-7 to ME-12 (pp. 10-11).

    The order is: shoes, hoodie, pants, underwear, watch, shirt.

    No socks, apparently.

    It seems the order is bottom to top, first for items considered 'outer', then the rest.

    Here's a curiosity: ME-11 is 'WATCH AND $0.10'. Was a dime attached to the watch in some way?

    Whether or not witness #2 is credible... (none / 0) (#85)
    by willisnewton on Sun May 27, 2012 at 03:38:11 PM EST
    the prosecution still brought up the idea that there was a witness to a foot chase, during the bond hearing.  In fact, it was the very first thing they brought up after establishing the credentials of the investigator.  

    This is what still makes me think the prosecution cares about the idea of a foot chase, or at minimum the idea that the "debris field" spread may be significant to them.  

    All of GZ's surrogates describe a fight that doesn't include much or any movement from a standing, brief verbal exchange to suddenly and finally being on the ground.  

    Here is a news reporter's description of RZ's story he heard from his son.  

    George Zimmerman called police, and started "walking in the same general direction to see where the individual was going," and get an address for police.

    At one point, he said, Trayvon approached him saying, `Do you have an f-ing problem?' George replied no and reached for his cell phone.

    Trayvon "punched him in the nose, his nose was broken, and he was knocked to the concrete." Robert Zimmerman said. "It's my understanding Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him in the face, in his nose, hitting his head on the concrete."

    Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/c4zlmho

    Jeralyn has a thread about this interview by FOX 35's Valerie Boey with RZ, but the embedded link to the video interview on local TV is no longer working.  

    this link seems active at present.

    here is my own transcription of the relevant part of the interview:

    RZ: ..he lost sight of the individual, he continued to walk down the same sidewalk, uh, to the next street, so he could get an address for the police, he went to the next street, realized where he was and was walking back to his vehicle.  It's my understanding that at that point Trayvon Martin walked up to him, asked him do you have a (expletive deleted) problem? George said "no, I don't have a problem" and started to reach for his cell phone.   At that point, he was punched in the nose, his nose was broken, and he was knocked to the concrete. Trayvon Martin got on top of him.. etc"

    (italics are mine)

    Robert Zimmerman was present for the videotaped walk thru, and presumably has talked with his son at length about where the fight occurred and how it progressed.  To my ears, he's describing a path GZ took on the cut thru to RVC and back, never one the ventures onto the dog walk N-S path, since that would not be "walking back to his vehicle."  

    RZ also says specifically that TM saw the weapon during the struggle, causing him to give a death threat to GZ, and then continued to hit GZ.  He never says TM tried to reach for the weapon, which struck me as odd the first time I heard and still does.  Instead, RZ says TM saw the weapon, gave the death threat, then "continued to beat George..." until he was shot by GZ.  

    RZ also does not believe TM was on the phone with anyone at the time, since the news of this call came so long after the killing.  Listen to the interview for his thoughts regarding this matter.  

    It's my understanding that RZ could be called as a witness and asked about his conversations with his son since there is no attorney-client relationship, nor is there a parent-child immunity law in Florida.  IANAL,  however.  

    Again I remind myself that GZ's statements to Sanford PD Investigators are not yet in the public realm, nor is it likely they will be soon.

    We'll have to wait and see what GZ's own version is, and also if there is any good way for the prosecution to make anything of an idea of a fight that included a foot chase, running man, or spread of evidence leading south of the cut thru path the distance it does.   Like I have said, it seems thin.  (If I were a prosecutor, I'd hate to go to trial with someone like W-2 as my star witness.)  But they haven't let it go, AFAICT.  

    I have not seen or heard all of what has been released from W-2, and neither can I tell from Jeralyn's synopsis if W-2 ever backed off of seeing at least one figure running in her final interview.  

    For all we know, W2 saw TM run up to GZ and instigate a fight.  But again, that doesn't fit what any of GZ's surrogates are describing as his version of events.  

    BTW, when she is asked "towards the T or towards the street" (paraphrased?) I think this means North or South, since at the extreme southern end of the dog walk is a street.  

    (Are the kitchens upstairs in these units?)